Celebrating the Launch of our New Website!

Dear fellow interactionists,

I am very excited to announce the launch of our new website for the society. Sincere thanks go to the hard work of Foroogh Mohammadi, who improved the site substantially. She has improved the visuals and organization, and the website is much more professional, easier to find, and user-friendly. Along with help from Patrick Williams and Dirk Vom Lehn, the old site has been deleted, and all relevant information to do with the society has migrated over to this new site. Do feel free to drop us a line if you have suggestions to improve the website in some way, as we do recognize it is new and somewhat of a work in progress. Once again, thank you Foroogh!

As you navigate the website, you will find information about current and future news and information that may interest you. Please see, for example, the “Awards and Distinctions” tab to consider nominating people for any of our annual awards, which we plan to announce in August at the annual meeting. Speaking of which, the “Conferences” tab provides information about the three major interactionist conferences this summer. These include the Canadian Qualitative Analysis Conference in Kelowna, British Columbia (June 14-16), the European SSSI Conference in Cardiff, UK (July 5-7), and last but not least, the SSSI Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA (August 15-17). Clicking through the links will give you all the information you will need about each. We hope to see you come out, and we are excited to be able to meet again in person and share ideas. Conferences are of course a great place to pitch ideas and gain feedback on our works in progress, which might then be suitable for publication in a journal dedicated to interactionist theory and research. The “Journal” tab will provide information about our society’s flagship journal, Symbolic Interaction, edited by Dr. Lisa-Jo Van den Scott. You are very much encouraged to submit original articles, and there are also opportunities for book reviews, commentaries, and other sorts of creative output. Please do give the journal website a visit.

In the meantime, I wonder what all you interactionists have been contemplating in terms of timely and interesting research directions? Covid is largely behind us, yet the impacts of the pandemic on our social lives are still felt in ways we probably do not entirely understand. How are hybrid work arrangements negotiated and experienced by people as the lines between work and home become increasingly blurred? How do people find meaning in everyday activities when colossal world events continue to make headlines? With challenges to democracy at home and abroad, political polarization, global warming, a struggling economy, and a potential new cold war, how do people maintain a sense of purpose in their own lives? And how are these experiences shaped through their intersection with various axes of power, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and (dis)ability? Perhaps it is the focus on the problem of meaning where interactionism shines the brightest, so we can better conceive of how these social structural forces fit into our everyday lives. We, more than any academic tradition, consider the central importance of meaning to our sense of identity and our individual and collective behaviour. Interactionist research may be just what we need to remind each other of how to cultivate purpose in our everyday lives, even in the wake of seemingly never-ending catastrophic news stories. Perhaps we can use these current global political times to imagine new research questions for interactionism, leaning into and exploring how the difficulties posed by emergent structural problems and cultural shifts are actively experienced.

This quick note is just meant as a welcome to you members, and a very brief introduction to our newly launched website. Genuine thanks go to the hard work of Foroogh Mohammadi and others for the many improvements here. Of course, thanks also to all of you society members, without whom none of this would be possible. Looking forward to connecting with you over the summer to discuss the very latest in all of your new and developing interactionist theory and research!

Best wishes

Antony J Puddephatt

President, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction